Hunt the Straight Path Home is the story of a fictional family set in real places. Much of the
story takes place on the Burger Homestead on Stringtown Road.

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To my knowledge, no family named Burger homesteaded on Stringtown Road. But there IS a
genuine Stringtown Road—now called State Route 707. Local people—mainly older
people—still know it as Stringtown Road.

More on the history of Stringtown Road and the store that was there in a later post.

I used the “Eli Koeppel place” where John and I lived for 20 years on Stringtown Road as the
basis for the second Burger homestead referred to in the book as “the clapboard house.”
As I understand, the first house on the property was a log cabin built near Yankee Run
creek. When civilization demanded a road be cut though the nearly impenetrable forest, the road
didn’t run a handy distance from the log cabin.

This log cabin is where Bear Altman lived as he worked as a hired hand on the Burger farm. I
don’t have a photo of the log cabin, but maybe someone does and will post it.

History has so many intriguing rabbit trails to follow but for this post I want to focus on the
clapboard house, which was the second house built on the Koeppel claim.

The property sat empty for several years before John and I and the bank bought the Eli Koeppel
place in 1978. The clapboard house had been used as a granary. As you can see, it was in very
rough shape and falling down. (That’s my brother Tim pulling our daughter Mary on a sled)

The clapboard house had a metal roof and lots of good lumber in it, so I arranged with a
dishonest young fellow to pull down what was left of the clapboard house, salvage anything out
of it he wanted, and clean up the rest of the debris. My stipulation was he was to dismantle it
only when John or I was home.

You probably can already tell where this is going.

After we signed an agreement, I promptly went into labor and spent 5 days in the hospital before
coming home with a bouncing baby John Joel. As we pulled in the drive, I saw the clapboard
house was reduced to a skeleton with a debris field that would have made a stick of dynamite
proud. Of course, the young man was nowhere to be found.

Good neighbor Reed Hawk brought down his tractor and pulled down the rest of the clapboard